Weston Logo

Memorial Day Update – All locations will be OPEN on Monday, May 27th normal business hours!

Thriving Rhododendrons

Thriving Rhododendrons

Seed Heads

Rhododendrons are such a significant component in many of this region’s gardens, and you likely have some in your yard. Can you recall such a spectacular display as we experienced this spring?! And now that they’ve finished blooming, some tasks that are effective and easy to accomplish will help assure your enjoyment continues next year.
When you visit your local garden center this time of year, you’ll likely see staff removing and discarding the spent flowers from many of the flowering plants, particularly annuals, they offer for sale. Horticulturists call this process “deadheading”. Deadheading surely enhances the appearance of the plants, and more importantly, it prevents them from forming seeds; it enables each plant to devote its energy to increased growing and forming new flowers.

Spent blossoms & seedheads.

Large-leaf rhododendrons and mountain laurel (Kalmia) can similarly benefit from deadheading. And it’s a simple task: let your fingers grasp and twist-off the entire seed-head at the tip of each flowering branch, taking care to leave the new growth shoots undisturbed. Don’t be overly concerned if some of the new shoots, leaves or branch-tip get removed during this operation—the latent growth buds will be stimulated and soon fill-in. The idea is to redirect the plant’s energy from seed-production into new growth. And the rhododendron (or Kalmia) will more than make up for the occasional loss of shoots by increasing its overall growth.

Seedpods tend to become more difficult to remove as they mature. And each cultivar differs in how tenaciously they hold-on to their seed-heads. Just as their flowers fade is the ideal time to do this, but even weeks later is still beneficial. And simply let the spent flowers drop beneath the plant—they eventually decompose and blend invisibly to become part of the mulch. The Early Rhododendrons (small-leaf types like PJM and Olga Mezitt) do not need deadheading because they set few seeds and are able to grow perfectly well naturally.

A rhododendron after being deadheaded.

Growing up in a nursery family, deadheading was one of the annual chores I was expected to perform. And I must say, deadheading hundreds of rhododendrons and Kalmia each summer was one task I didn’t relish very much. But now that I’m a homeowner with a more limited number of plants to maintain, I get a real feeling of accomplishment seeing how much reward I get for investing a couple of hours.

Deadheading time is also a good opportunity to remove dead and damaged branches and prune to control the height/spread of each plant. If you are unsure about how to deadhead specific plants, or whether it’s worth the effort, check with the experts at your local garden center.

Share Via:


Weston Nurseries is committed to being a center for horticultural knowledge. Enjoy!

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Search in posts
Search in pages

Shops Trees, Shrubs, & Perennials – in stores and online.


Online Shopping at Weston Nurseries

We are excited to offer two unique opportunities to shop online at Weston Nurseries.

Farm To Door™

WN Online Shopping icons_Ship to Door
Plants shipped directly to you!

Browse our online inventory for a huge selection of plants available to ship directly from the farm to your home! Anywhere in New England!*

Shop Our Garden Centers

WN Online Shopping icons-02
Great for large plants and larger orders!

Shop your local store for plants, garden supplies, soil, mulch and more. Then pick up your order at the garden center or arrange for local drop off!

If you are interested in ordering gift cards, please click here!
*Some restrictions may apply to certain states.


Memorial Day Weekend Flash Sale On Hydrangeas!

25% off all Hydrangeas this weekend only!

Saturday, May 25th – Monday, May 27th! 

Hydrangeas are a classic and beautiful sign of summer. Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend by sprucing up your yard with some new hydrangeas. Discount applies at all locations.

*Sale Fine Print:

For “Cash and Carry” transactions only. Offer good while supplies last.

No open orders or deliveries for future dates. All Flash Sale products must be taken the same day. Not valid on previous orders. No transfers allowed between stores on any sale items.

Skip to content